What Is the Law on Misappropriation of Funds in New Jersey and What Are the Punishments for It?
New Jersey has strict laws in place to prevent misappropriation of funds from taking place. The state considers this white-collar crime to be a serious offense, which is why there are varying degrees of penalties.
Definition of Misappropriation of Funds
Several people tend to interchange misappropriation of funds with embezzlement, as the two sound similar. Due to this reason, it is crucial to know the legal definition of the former. Misappropriation of funds is unauthorized use of another party’s funds by the offender for personal purposes. It defers from embezzlement, as the former only talks about money, while the latter deals with property.
The legal owner of the money trusted the offender to handle the finances. However, this individual took certain amounts for personal use. The reason why the misappropriation of funds is different from other forms of theft is that it is a betrayal of the trust between the legal owner and the individual.
An example would be the club’s treasurer, who is in charge of handling funds for the organization. However, this individual diverts small amounts every month, to purchase an expensive vehicle. The club will charge the treasurer with misappropriation of funds for his/her illegal actions.
Punishment for Committing Misappropriation of Funds
As per the laws of New Jersey, there are no specific rules regarding misappropriation of funds. These types of crime come under the state’s general theft statute, which determines the extent of the punishment. Any individual found guilty of committing misappropriation of funds will receive a criminal record, a fine, and jail time.
When the courts in New Jersey finds the individual guilty, you will receive the following charges:
- If the amount stolen from the legal owner is not more than $200, the offender will receive a fine which can reach $1,000. Also, the guilty party will have to spend a maximum of six months in jail.
- When the amount goes above $200, but below $500, it becomes a fourth-degree crime. As a result, the penalties against the offender will increase substantially. The fine levied has the chance of reaching $10,000. Also, the jail time for an offense in this category can go up to 18 months.
- For amounts which are greater than $500, but not more than $75,000, it becomes a third-degree crime. For this offense, the guilty will have to pay a maximum fine of $15,000 and imprisonment which can extend to five years.
- It becomes a second-degree crime if the individual steals over $75,000 from the legal owner. The offender will receive a jail sentence which can be as long as 10 years, along with a maximum fine of $150,000.
Sometimes, the court will order the guilty to pay a figure which is double the loss suffered by the victim. The judge determines which amount is greater and levy the same on the offender.
There are several other penalties which will come into play when the court convicts the individual for misappropriation of funds. Due to the criminal record, it becomes next to impossible for the guilty to find employment in the future.
Misappropriation of funds is a huge crime in New Jersey, which is why the severity of the penalties increase substantially, with the amount stolen.
The Laws on Misappropriation of Funds tend to be complex, which is why it is always a better option to hire an experienced criminal attorney. These professionals have the expertise to understand the rules of the state. As a result, they will be able to offer sound advice on this topic. It is always better for individuals to hire criminal defense attorneys, as they will keep the best interests of the client in mind when handling this type of offense.